Common served some rap classics, flirted with women and gave a reminder of a loss in the hip-hop community during his performance at Rock the Bells Sunday (Sept. 2) at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey.
“When you come to Rock the Bells you gotta be ready to party,” he said to the lively crowd.
The MC, donning a white T-shirt and green shorts, came onto the stage to fellow Chicago native Kanye West‘s “Get em High.” He then performed “The People” from his Finding Forever album.
“I love hip hop,” Common shouted. “It’s always gonna be hip-hop in my soul.” Following this, he performed “I Used to Love H.E.R.”
During the set, the 40-year-old rhymer acted out a scene, answering a ringing cell phone. On the call was a Chicago friend, who was filling him in on some drama — pretend of course. “My homie just told me some shit, you ain’t gon’ believe this.” Common then dropped “Testify.”
At one point, the beat to Beyonce‘s “Party” played and the G.O.O.D. Music affiliate invited a young woman from the front row onstage. He told her to have a seat as he handed her a towel, which she used to wipe the sweat off his baldy.
“Come Close” came next, all to the sounds of Bey’s song. His lady for the moment danced on him before she left the stage.
Later on, he broke out into a freestyle with a line acknowledging a late, great producer. “Respect to Dilla, whose realer?” Common rapped.
Other tracks he got into included “Go,” “Poker Face,” “Universal Mind Control,” “Punch Drunk Love” and “The Light.”
As he closed out his show, he sent a special blessing and gave hip-hop fans a reminder of a great loss to the community. “God bless the soul of Chris Lighty,” Common said,marking the passing of the music industry executive, who died Aug. 30 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.